Gophers sophomore point guard Marcus Carr surprised fans Monday night by announcing his decision to declare for the 2020 NBA draft and pursue a professional career without hiring an agent, he posted on his Instagram page.
“After speaking to my family, we have decided that I will be entering my name in this upcoming 2020 NBA draft,” Carr wrote. “My intentions are to stay in the draft and pursue a professional career in the NBA. However, during the process I will be retaining my college eligibility status by not signing with an agent.”
The NCAA’s early entry withdrawal deadline is June 3. Richard Pitino and his staff were told by Carr that he wants to return to the team for next season, but that he hopes to put himself on the NBA’s radar right now by testing the waters, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
The 6-2, 195-pound Toronto native averaged 15.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 6.7 assists this season, setting a program single-season record with 207 assists. It was Carr’s first season playing with Minnesota after he sat out 2018-19 following his transfer from Pittsburgh.
Earlier this month, standout sophomore center Daniel Oturu declared for the draft and intends to hire an agent. Oturu (second team) and Carr (third team) were both All-Big Ten selections this season.
Oturu was projected as high as a lottery pick, while Carr hasn’t appeared on any draft boards.
Last spring, Carr tweeted he was entering his name into the draft. But he deleted the post after admitting it was a joke poking fun at so many players declaring early. This time he was serious about the message. But the NBA could postpone or do away with draft workouts this year with the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am looking forward to receiving valuable information going through whatever process this unique draft year does include,” wrote Carr, who averaged 10.0 points and 4.0 assists in 2017-18 as a freshman starter at Pitt. “Ultimately making the best decision for myself and family. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA.”
With Oturu and senior Alihan Demir gone in the frontcourt, the Gophers (15-16) were expecting to return three backcourt starters in Carr, sophomore Gabe Kalscheur and junior Payton Willis. They are also adding four-star recruit Jamal Mashburn Jr. to the mix on the perimeter.
A year ago, Amir Coffey declared for the draft after his junior season. He went undrafted but signed a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Clippers. But talking to the Star Tribune last week, Pitino was expecting Carr to be back for a big junior year for the Gophers next season.
“He was such a great playmaker,” Pitino said earlier this month. “His assist numbers were off the charts. But he had 35 points vs. Ohio State. He hit the game-winner at Ohio State. He just did a terrific job. I think the next step for him is improving that shooting percentage from three. Can we get that to the 40s? Can I work on putting him in different spots maybe off the ball a little bit?
“I love his confidence. I love his will to win. I love his approach to the game. [I want him just] to continue to do that and get better at all of the other facets.”